Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tessy's Testimony: You might be an introvert at a retreat if....

Hi everyone,  

My name is Tessy and I attended the “Joy in the Journey” retreat a few weekends ago.  I heard about the retreat through Kate at “The Adopt Shoppe”.  I am a big fan of her billboards of the heart.  It took me a while to talk myself into going.  There is a reason I like to blog/write and stay behind a computer.  You see, I am a bit of an introvert (understatement of the year).  In my decision making process I weighed the risk of exposure to my homebody soul against the colorful e-vite that beckoned me with its budget friendly price.  It whispered promises that it would be a retreat for the weary.  That was hard to argue with.  I knew I needed that.  I had to admit that even an introvert type person like myself desires to connect with others who share familiar aches of the heart when it comes to adoption.  I knew I would regret it if I let this opportunity pass, so I signed up.  I am so glad I did.  Just for fun, I wrote up this little piece for all my fellow introverts:

You might be an introvert at a retreat if....

  • You begged at least one of your adoptive mom friends to go with you because you would have never attended by yourself
  • The night before you leave your husband has to talk you into going again
  • Sweat breaks out on your forehead when they announce icebreaker games
  • Choosing a table to sit at makes you feel like you are in high school again
  • When you do choose a table and no one sits down with you within five minutes you start wondering if your boots are cute enough and if your clothes are trendy enough
  • Instead of verbally telling people your name, you hold up your name tag
  • You see people you think you would like to meet but decide if it was meant to be they will talk to you first
  • You visit the bathroom frequently because you have no idea how to small talk so you are constantly sipping your drink so you look more normal
  • You keep rubbing your nose and suppress the urge to go look in a mirror because you have conjured up in your head that you might have a cliffhanger going on
  • You breathe a small sigh of relief when you are able to retreat back to your room to your smaller group of four
  • Once back in your room you end up talking more in those late night hours to your roomies than you do the entire retreat all together because in that setting you thrive
  • Getting the gumption to ask a question out loud, in a microphone mind you, takes about two years off your life

God has a way of taking care of you when you put yourself out there.  I was able to get a good friend of mine to attend the retreat with me and the 4.5 hour drive was a treat in itself.  I made it through the awkwardness of the icebreaker games and met a beautiful lady from North Carolina because of it.  Even though I was bashful about putting myself out there for random meet and greets, God had me covered.  On the second day of the retreat I ended up with a whole table of other moms who were in various places in their adoption journeys from the DR Congo as well.  It just worked out that way.  And the vendor that I ended up rooming with just so happened to be raising money for a family adopting from the DR Congo.  I delight in His mysterious ways of how He cares for us, don’t you?

I wanted to share from my introverted heart because maybe you are reading this, and thinking conferences like this are not your thing.  I would just challenge you to put yourself out there.  It was so worth the bit of social awkwardness I felt at times.  I had to smile when I ended up at a table with Sharon Lyon who would be speaking the next day.  As we shared our dreams and fears, she divulged her fear of public speaking.  I wasn’t the only one who was out of her comfort zone.  The next day I’d be riveted by her words.  I watched God take Sharon’s fear of speaking and mold it into a testimony that would unbind some shackles that had been holding crevices of my heart captive.  Her willingness to put herself out of her comfort zone and transparently boast of her weakness would speak to me in such volumes that I am still unraveling it in bits and pieces.   

I learned that the round tables filling the main building, which at first presented themselves as being evasive and intimidating, had the capability to encircle me in genuine friendship.  I listened to the beautiful stories of God weaving families together and it brought such joy to my heart.  I stumbled through beginnings of conversations to find myself connecting with moms who shared a similar heartbeat to live this journey well.  

On Day 1 I attended the “Staying Connected to your Spouse in the Midst of Crazy” break-out session.  It made me laugh and I left that session so thankful for our own fair share of “family flair”.  I am going to wear that flair proudly unlike Jennifer Aniston in Office Space.  On Day 2, I attended the “Connecting While Correcting” session and left with an arsenal of tools and encouragement to aide me in parenting my son.  The last session I attended was the Q&A with the adult adoptee panel.  I am so thankful for the three volunteers who let us see the journey from the other side.  When you are living it real and raw everyday it is difficult to see the bigger picture at times.  The panel painted that picture with such hope and beauty that it moved many of us adoptive moms to tears.

I am so thankful that I was able to attend the “Joy in the Journey” retreat and I am hoping this will be an annual event.  I would definitely come back.  

I am a stay at home mom to four beautiful children – Miss Mae who is 9, boy/girl twins Aves and Ry-Ry who are 7, and Zalen Moise, age 5 who we adopted from the Democratic Republic of Congo. I love to chat with friends over a cup of coffee, blog (you can find me at www.adoptingdivinemoments.com ), digi-scrap, and go to concerts. I am super passionate about adoption/orphans and giving a voice to the “least of these”. 

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